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…and Sandwich is not number one!

Proudly brought to you by The 10min Foodie

Christmas is a time of giving and receiving ~ a joyous time of showing those nearest and dearest how much they mean to you and how much you care.

Recently a work colleague of mine told me a wee story about just such an event. A very VERY close friend of his lovingly gave him a sandwich press for Christmas, rattling on constantly about how it had revoluntinized her life. She spoke  about how many incredible toasted sandwiches, panini and bagels she could make using her blessed sandwich press.

His answer to the aforementioned home appliance,”  Doesn’t the women know I’m gluten intolerant?!”

I had to chuckle, the look of confusion on his face was priceless, “Shes known me for over 25 years and hasn’t yet noticed my inability to digest gluten…?”

His situation got me thinking ~ when life hands you lemons, build a lemonade stand and  franchise it!

In other words , what  types of food aside from bread products could be successfully toasted, grilled, sandwiched and pressed in an unwanted Christmas present?

Let the Countdown commence!

Number 10

Stone Fruit

photo by skyseeker

Try grilling some fresh peaches, plums, apricots or nectarines on your sandwich press by cutting the fruit in half and removing the pip.  Place the fruit in a single layer on the press and close the lid gently but firmly.

When the fruit are nicely warmed through and grilled lightly, remove from the press and drizzle over some runny honey or add a sprinkle of brown sugar to brighten the flavour.

Number 9

Tomatoes

Photo by The Ewan

Tomatoes are great to throw in to the sandwich press. They are quick, easy to do and provided you are using ripe, juicy tomatoes, the flavours are superlative once they have been given a light toasting!

To “press” your tomatoes, remove any green tops and slice both ends off the tomato. Now cut  the tomato in half through the middle and season well with sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper and a splash of olive oil.

Lay the tomatoes in a single layer on your preheated sandwich press ~ and cook for 5-8 minutes dependant on size of tomatoes. You want the tomato to be still slightly firm and not to spongy, but well grilled and caramelised.

Number 8

Pork Loin Steaks

Photo by FotoosVanRobin

Boneless cuts of meat are easily cooked through in the sandwich press ~ and Pork Loin steaks are no exception and are exceptionally tasty!

When choosing your loin steaks ~ pick ones that are evenly sliced so that they cook through evenly on the press. Season well  with salt and black pepper before placing on the grill and cooking through until tender.

If your steaks have some fat on them, there’s no need to oil them before cooking, but if they are just meat, lightly massage some sesame oil in to the flesh before pressing. Serve with whole grain mustard, apple sauce or your favourite gravy.

Number 7

Zuchinni

photo by oliviergendrin

The wonderful Zuchinni or courgette as its more widely known makes an appearance at Number 7 . These little darlings  need only be sliced length ways thinly, seasoned with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper and lightly oiled before pressing lightly for 3-4 minutes.

When they are ready, carefully remove from the press and drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and squeeze over a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice.

Number 6

Lamb skewers

photo by avlxyz

Skewers in general work exceptionally well on the sandwich press provided what you are skewering aren’t to big and chunky and they are all of similar size.

Lamb is a real specialty when skewered and grilled on the sandwich press and is made even more delectable if sprinkled with a few Middle Eastern flavours like z’aatar or harissa.

Number 5

Burger Patties

photo by pokpok313

I love the idea of homemade burgers ~ made even easier if you cook the pattie in the good old sandwich press.

It’s twice as fast as cooking it in the pan or on the grill as you have top heat and bottom heat getting the job done super fast for you.

For a touch of burger class, choose the best quality ground beef, lamb, turkey or chicken ~ organic and free range . Add your favourite spices, diced onion and loads of seasoning to make a tasty pattie that’s good for you and good for the environment.

Wrap the cooked pattie in a burger pan with lettuce, tomato, relish and mayo to complete the ensemble.

Number 4

Steak!

photo by FotoosVanRobin

It would be unbearably  hard to convert to vegetarianism if steak always came out looking like this!

A juicy piece of fine rib eye or sirloin given the right royal treatment on the sandwich press would have me weak at the knees.

Best advice when cooking your prime cut on the sandwich press is make sure the grill is preheated and hot. Massage a small amount of grape seed or vegetable oil into the flesh before placing in the press and firmly closing the lid. Cook for 6-8 minutes for  a  steak similar in size to the photo.

When you take the steak from the press, season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and wrap the steak in foil and allow to REST for 4-5 minutes to help to keep those juices inside the meat.

Number 3

Salmon or Ocean Trout

photo by jlastras

Oily Fish like Salmon and Trout work splendidly in the sandwich press. They are firm enough that they stay together on cooking, and have a high enough natural fat level that they cook tenderly in their own juices.

Dependant on the thickness of your  fillet, it wont take you long to cook your fish . For a 200gm slice I would recommend no longer than 6 minutes in your press, with 3-5 minutes for the fish to sit once you have removed it from the press to allow it extra time to continue to cook thanks to the heat that is trapped within its flesh.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a few slivers of finley sliced chilli if you like it a little bit of heat under the collar.

Number 2

Eggplant

photo by Muffet

I have acquired somewhat of an addiction for eggplant cooked in the sandwich press. The grilling process helps to caramelise the vegetable and brings out the sweetness beautifully.

To cook simply cut the eggplant into even sized slices and oil generously with your favourite olive oil. Season well on both sides with salt and pepper before placing in the grill in a single layer and closing the lid firmly to squash the eggplant down a tad.

Cook for 4-5 minutes until the grill marks are prominent and the flesh has gone from white to brown. Serve in a  salad or as a side dish on their own. I like to dip mine in a miso dressing and eat with chopsticks.

And Drum roll please… The Number 1 food item to cook in a sandwich press that isn’t a sandwich …

Number 1

BACON!!!

I purposely left this photo big to celebrate the beauty of cooking bacon in a sandwich press.

If you are a lover and admirer of crispy bacon  in half the normal time it would take you to pan fry or grill it ~ the sandwich press is your new best friend.  It produces crispy pieces, removes some of the fat in the natural process of rendering as the bacon cooks and gives you a crunch and a tenderness all at the same time.

It is poetry for the bacon armored.

Choose streaky bacon for best results and lay the bacon in a single layer on a hot press and PRESS for 4-5 minute until cooked.

So here is my top 10… have I missed anything out???

What would you cook in your sandwich press??

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With 20+ years working in commercial kitchens, I’m here to share with you some of the best secrets of the trade to help you cook better, faster and to eat well. You will surprise a lot of family & friends when you give some of my recipes a try.

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